Almost everything is controlled by levers - transmission and hydraulics. The rear linkage is just about the only thing controlled by a switch.
Out of the four, it feels like it has the highest cab position. It is well finished in solid dark grey plastics and has plenty of room. The dash is comprehensive and it still employs a pull stopper. Reach and rake steering adjustment makes life a little easier and the dash-mounted loader controls are fairly convenient.
The rather bulky passenger seat does occupy a lot of room when folded away and encroaches on elbow space. However, it does double up as a handy tray. Behind the driver’s seat there is a decent-sized toolbox. This is also the only tractor out of the four to have a heated rear-window.
Even the engine has escaped electronics. It still uses a mechanical inline injection pump and, apart from being a bit noisy and tappy, it performs well - delivering power and torque where and when it is needed.
Out of the four, it blitzed the competition when pulling a muck-laden trailer up the same hill.
When it comes to maintenance, you can still call a mechanic out to this one, rather than an electrical engineer. And unlike the Fergie, this one does not need time to boot-up.
Its one-piece bonnet is a bit flimsy though, but it does feature good radiator access.
The Forterra’s rear end is simple enough, with plenty of ground-clearance. Even though its Dromone pick-up hitch was not telescopic, it can be seen from the tractor seat depending on how tall you are. A mirror is provided for shorter users.
A 5,800kg linkage lift capacity is fitted as standard, as well as lower link sensing.
One of the Forterra’s biggest let-downs is its lack of hydraulic flow. Compared to the others, it requires a lot of throttle to make the loader respond, which will also affect fuel consumption.
With a right-handed mechanical shuttle lever, your right hand will have a lot of work to do. Aside from that, it is surprising the amount of time wasted when you cannot change direction and control the loader at the same time.
Its bulky bonnet could do with a bit of trim to improve sight-lines to the loader. It would also benefit from a transparent roof to increase loader visibility.
The gearbox is a bit knotty when selecting, but we did like the automatic low selection of the splitter when changing gear.
If you want your fillings removing, take the Forterra and a non-suspended loader for a spin on the road - it is quite a hard ride to say the least.
A Czech-built TracLift loader takes care of material handling duties. It features mechanical parallel linkage, single hydraulic couplings and joystick cable controls as standard. As an option, boom suspension and a hydraulic block connector can be specified.
Out of the four loaders, it was one of the easiest to get on and off via a very simple locking mechanism. If it had the optional block connection fitted, it would have been even easier.
Unlike the Fergie and Deutz loaders, which had their hydraulic services mounted on the tool carrier, the Zetor’s was mounted on its cross-member. This makes the couplings slightly less accessible and means attachment pipes have to be longer than necessary.
When lined up with the rest of our test models, the Forterra certainly does not look out of place, and quality has definitely increased compared to the Zetors of old.
We highly rate this rough and ready beast from the east; it has a certain character which encourages you to drive it like you stole it.
It is definitely the most jump-on and drive tractor out of the four - ideal for throwing casual drivers on during harvest.
The problem which faces these ‘budget’ tractors is that they are not only competing against their peers, but also against older tractors with the same spec or better.
Several options and updates are on the horizon for this tractor, including transparent roof, left-hand electric shuttle and cab suspension.
On-farm price of tractor is £36,263. Loader price is £5,617.
Zetor Forterra 115 tractor